Swamp Chicken !

I apparently need to get out of the hosue more often.
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Today I had to get gas for our lawn mower. Zachary had a coupon for a free giant pickle from Pekarna's Meat Market (the local butcher here in Jordan). I also had a coupon that if I spent 10.00 I could get a free pound of hamburger. I grabbed some beef jerkey (Perkarna's is some of the best I have EVER had!), and some Brautwurst. As I was paying, I noticed something up on their "special" board that I just had to have!
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The kids were giggling with excitment as I brought my purchases home for Michele to put into the freezer!
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In case you cant read that label, let me get a little closer!

Well, needless to say - Zachary and I (and maybe Rebecca) will be sharing them! Michele refused, and Jonathan started giving her a hard time about not eating them... That was until Michele asked Johnathan how many he was going to eat...

All the more for me!

The Origins of a Police Dispatcher ??

This and the next post "tie in" with each other.
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First, if you refer back to the "
Connections - Both in Life and Death" post. You may recall me talking about my Pep who was a U of M Policeman and how I believe this may have been where my interest in law enforcement came from. (Yet I did "blame" my Mémère too)
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"My Pep was a Policeman for the University of Minnesota Police Department. I believe this is where I got my interest in law enforcement. (I also "blame" my Mémère too - in a different way and for a different reason - Remind me to tell you that story too!)"
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. This is the story of why I give some of the blame to my Mémère!
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Not long after Pep passed away, a new object appeared on the end table in the living room at Mémère's house. I soon discovered that it was a "police scanner". I had never heard of such a thing. Mémère turned it on, and a row of 8 LED lights started flashing across the front of it. It was not long before the scanner started broadcasting the audio it was intended to broadcast. Police Radio Traffic. I was in AWE. I could actually hear what the police were doing - it was amazing and hypnotizing to me at the same time. I could hear calls being dispatched, hear the names and addresses, and (the best part) the graphic (for a young sheltered boy) descriptions of that was going it. This little box was AMAZING! Many times while visiting Mémère I sat and entertained myself by listing to the scanner. I was hooked! It was my drug, and Mémère was my pusher!
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Mémère's original scanner (I belive it was a Bearcat 8 - at least I remember it looking almost exactly like this one) only had 8 channels. She had to have semi-permanent radio crystals installed for the frequencies she wanted to listen to, and therefore, was very limiting. I remember her talking about getting a scanner that had more channels in it. Not much longer after she got the Bearcat 8, a much more complicated Bearcat 210 showed up at her home. She apparently had difficulties programming it, and let me try (I only remember seeing it at her house once). She told me it was complicated to program, and that when she unplugged it to take it from room to room, she would have to reprogram it each time.
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Like I said, I only saw the 210 that one time. I believe she returned it to wherever she bought it soon after, and the Bearcat 8 was back in it's spot.
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As stated earlier, I got to spend quite a few "overnights" at Mémère's house after Pep passed away. The nights and weekends were when things really got good on the scanner. I remember sitting on the front three season porch late into the night with Mémère listening to the scanner. I remember one particular time where the police were recovering a body from a trash dumpster. We both sat intrigued, for hours.
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I remember asking her at one point, why she did not have a scanner earlier? After all Pep was a policeman. She was very quick to answer! She told me that Pep forbid her from having one in the house. She told me that he complained about how he listened to his police radio squawk all day at work, therefore he was not about to come home and listen to a scanner during his off duty hours. After he retired, she again tried to get a scanner, but Pep continued to refused to allow one in the house. Mémère said (with a little grin on her face) that as soon as he passed away, she ran out and bought one because she finally COULD! Some of my fondest memories of time with Mémère was sitting with her during the evening hours, in the dark listening to that scanner.
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After Mémère passed away, (I think) the scanner ended up being given to my cushion Dean from Maine. I think Dean enjoyed listening to it with Mémère too! After I started working, one of the first "big ticket" items I bought for myself was my very own police scanner. I bought a BC140 (which I just recently threw it away, as it was no longer functional. I had it stored in a box in the closet. I got it out, and it would only power up about 25% of the times I turned it on). It sat by my bedside, and was ALWAYS on. I later added a high-gain antenna on the exterior of the house. I ran the antenna line in thru my bedroom window GREATLY improving it's reception.
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I also purchased a BC100XLT (a handheld portable scanner) a couple of years later. I still have it, but is non-functional.
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I guess I ought to throw that one away too, but perhaps in some way, to me, it represents the time my Mémère and I spent sitting in the dark together, enjoying each other's company listening to her police scanner.
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Stay tuned to see why that BC100XLT was the last scanner I bought...

White Knuckles?

Today Michele took Benjamin out to get his Learners Permit.

Afterwards, I took him out to the Athletic Complex parking lot where we
spent over two hours practicing driving.

He did pretty good overall. (But don't tell him I said so!)

A Little Something New? - Part 2

So.. to refresh your memory - I was asking you.. What does a 37 year old man (with very little formal musical training, and several "hit & run" attempts to learn a musical instrument) do when he wants to express himself musically (and more than just listen)??

Well, first of all - My sister (who is very musically talented in the Piano, Clarinet, Accordian, Organ, and probably a few instruments I am forgetting) offered (out of the blue) to bring us a "family guitar" that she completely refurbished from a "dumpster dive".

This offer has caused me to do some thinking about what I want to accomplish from learning to play an instrument. I also made some realistic observations on my part. Here is some of my "inventory items"


  • I am not interested in music as a career.
  • I am WAY too old to worry about starting (or playing) in a band - although helping out in church (if I ever got good enough) may be fun!
  • I am WAY too old to worry about trying to "look cool" and pick up girls by learning an instrument.
  • I never have been great at playing any instrument.
  • I would like something that is "not too complicated"
  • I enjoyed playing the guitar (when I did do it).
  • I am not good at reading music, but had fun trying to figure out the guitar tablature.
  • I truly enjoy "feeling" the music, both physically and emotionally.
  • The last guitar I picked up (my son's) felt small to me. (I am a pretty big guy!)
  • I'd like to "try something new"
  • Although I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sound of the Sitar & Tabla, I believe that it may be way to complicated (and expensive) to learn.
  • I am more apt to "play along" with my own music (that I enjoy listening to) than I am to play "stand alone", or compose my own.
  • I want to find something I can play to help me relax and unwind.
  • I am interested in finding something that I can have fun playing with, and not get too upset, or frustrated with while trying to learn - After all, the whole idea is to relax and have fun, right?
  • I would like Something small enough to be "portable" but not so small that it feels uncomfortable.
  • It would be nice to have an instrument that can be played both (LOUD) and (quiet) as is appropriate for the situation at hand.
  • An instrument that can be fiddled with while watching TV or visiting (like I did with my son's guitar)
  • I want something I don't have break the bank to get into.
  • I would like to see something I can "teach myself", take some "online lessons" or pick up a PC CD, or DVD with some pre-recorded lessons.

------ So... Here is what I came up with... ----------

  • Piano? - Been there, done that. Too large a piece of furniture.
  • Brass instrument? - Been there, done that. No way to play quietly if kids / wife are asleep, or I am watching TV or visiting with Michele.
  • Drums? - Too big, takes up too much space, no real way to move it around realistically.
  • Sitar or Tabla? - Nahh.. too complicated - (but I still LOVE listening to them!)
  • Guitar? - I like the idea... fits most (if not all) the criteria. I have enjoyed it in the past, but never stuck to it.
  • Banjo? - Sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Starter sets are available. Seems a bit petite and delicate for a big monster like myself.
  • Bass Guitar? - Similar to the guitar, yet bigger than a banjo or the guitar, will fit my "monster" frame, portable, can be quiet at times yet also loud enough to "feel" when I would like it to, self teaching lessons are available, (I belive it to be) less complicated than the guitar, I can learn (or play along) to some of my favorite music (listen to "A Forest" by The Cure for an example).

I went back and looked at these things, and then (about two weeks ago) started surfing around the net.. "Bass Guitar", "Teach yourself Bass Guitar", "Electric Bass Guitar", "DVD lessons Bass guitar", "learning the bass guitar" and so on, and so on, and so on... I have come across many different sites dedicated to just that. The more and more I searched the more and more excited I have become.

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I think I have finally reached a decision. I am going to look into the possibility of picking up a bass guitar.

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Ebay is full of them. Starter sets that include a bass, practice amp, gig bag, cable, picks, tuner, etc, etc, etc...

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Ok. I know I get weird ideas (pipe dreams) stuck in my head, and that are a "flash in the pan" ideas. They take up my thoughts until they come to fruition, and then I get "board" with them and move on. I honestly thought this Blog would be one of them. I am still blogging, and even though the "Deck Series" is finished, I am still finding things to blog about...

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Maybe I'm rationalizing this to myself, but I believe that students who start school later in life do better in school - they take things a bit more seriously. By following this line of thinking, maybe I would take the Bass Guitar a little more seriously... Maybe I am telling myself this to help justify an "out of the blue" idea of taking up an new instrument at the ripe old age of 37... (can you teach "old dogs" "new tricks?) I hit some inspiration about taking on the bass guitar my age HERE. (This is a blog by a woman my same age, taking up the bass herself!) and while searching the activebass.com website, I found a whole thread about people taking up the bass later in life... ACTIVEBASS.COM "TOO OLD" THREAD. It would seem that I am not alone in this adventure. Perhaps this is not just a wild goose chase afterall....

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Well, I tell you what... I don't have the answers to the above questions. What I will do (given our family budget, and my available leisure time) is take some time looking for a good deal. I don't want to run out and buy the first thing I find, but I don't want to spend forever chasing a pipe dream either. I have a few feelers out there. I have a cousin that plays in a band, and I have a brother-in-law that a very talented guitar player. He is very musically gifted, and perhaps will have some advise or direction for me...

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I found a guitar style that I like - it's not a frightening "Death Metal" style (although I do listen to my share of it), outrageous color, or outlandishly priced guitar (Although it is still more than I would like to pay...) This one is called the Dean Edge 09 4-String Electric Bass Guitar - in the natural satin mahogony wood finish. It looks warm, inviting, and the wood tone with black accents fit the colors and styles that I like.

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But for the price of (or less than the price of) this guitar (and JUST the guitar) I can pick up a "starter kit". Much of what I read about this guitar (in online reviews) say it makes a GREAT introductory guitar, but also is a great performer for the advanced user as well... Who knows.. Too early to say...

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I now have to convince my wife that I am not crazy, that this is something I would like to do (or perhaps this may be this is just a "mid life crisis" and to be happy it's cheaper than a motorcycle!), and that the money is not going to be wasted by buying a guitar.

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I also hope my sister does not feel that I do not appreciate her offer. Jonathan (our 11 year old son) has been hinting around a guitar for the past year. I have been watching a wholesale website that offers a 3/4 size drednaught acustic guitar on clearence about once a year for an outragously low price ($29.99). I saw the offer in July, and put one on order only to get an apology email from the company tne next day saying that they ran out of stock before my order could be filled. I know that Jonathan and Zachary would both be very intrested in the guitar from Denise, and how fun would it be to "jam" (Grateful Dead, or "A Forest" style) with your kid?

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If you (dear reader) have any tips, suggestions, or recommendations for me, I'd love to hear them!

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Also, if you have any leads for me (or have an old bass guitar sitting around collecting dust) on a good introductory fretted electric bass guitar, and / or amp, I would also love to hear from you!

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Thanks in advance for any comments, tips, suggestions, recommendations, or leads!

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David - the Father-of-Five.

A Little Something New? - Part 1

My past musical experiences have been minimal.

At a very young age, my parents signed my sister up for piano lessons, and I took a few guitar lessons. I was not old enough to wrap my fingers around the fretboard, and only had two or three lessons. When that did not work out, my parents put me in piano lessons with my sister. I was in piano lessons for a few years. I was never "very good" at it, and because I was not real good at it, and it was not my "first choice", my interest was not there. I practiced because I "had too" and the music I played was not music that interested me. The song I remember playing the most was "The Entertainer"... Need I say more?

I did finally quit piano lessons. A few years after piano lessons I had a short lived "run in" with the saxophone. My "failure" with the saxophone was less to do with me, and more to do with the incompetent music teacher at my elementary school.

It was sixth grade. I signed up for band, and requested to play the saxophone. There were two of us "just starting" to play. I had the rented "alto sax" and the other guy had an old family "baritone sax". The teacher was glad two see the variety and started lessons.

This went on for about half the school year. The time came for the spring concert, and so for the first time, all the band sat together for practice. (Remember, this was elementary school "lessons" and less of a band. The teacher taught the same songs to everyone (regardless of the instrument) and then the highlight of the year was to put each of these kids in "Lessons" together and call it a "band".) Anyway, so for the first time we all gathered in the gym to "practice" we played a few songs. The teacher was obviously listening for something "wrong" but had us each keep playing. About half way through the practice, she had the other saxophone player and myself play our parts together without the rest of the band. She narrowed down the problem to the saxophones... (sigh..) It was not long before she approached us and asked us why we were not playing the right notes... She took our music lesson books and that is when she realized that she gave the alto books and materials to the baritone player, and the baritone books and materials to the alto player.

The solution to the problem was simple... She told both the baritone and alto sax players (that would be me folks..) to just "pretend" to play during the concert, and we would start from scratch after the concert. I did the "pretending" part, but never went back to start all over. So ended my relationship with the saxophone.

Two years later (eight grade) I started back into the guitar. This was fueled by my original interest in the guitar at a younger age, but even more so, by the "popular kid" at school. He had played some AC/DC songs on his electric guitar on a lunch table during a party or talent show or some such thing at the end of our seventh grade. He looked like he was having such a great time, and I could (for the first time in my life) FEEL the music. I think this was the day that (at least LISTENING to) music became a driving force in my life. When we got back to school in the fall, I signed up for guitar lessons. I enjoyed the guitar, and finished out the year of guitar lessons without anything eventful. My favorite song to play from that time-frame was "Suicide is Painless" the theme song to M*A*S*H*. Because we rented the guitar, I had to return it at the end of the year, and I never returned to it. I think perhaps the transition between 8th grade (junior high) and 9th grade (High school) made me a bit anxious, and helped end my guitar playing days.


Fast forward about 20 years, and my oldest son (about 16 at the time) gets an old electric guitar (6 string) and an amplifier from his uncles for a birthday gift. I picked it up and was able to remember about 3 chords. I played those three cords, practicing over and over until I started getting blisters on my fingers. I then went and downloaded some "online" guitar lessons, and started teaching myself Tablature. I was adding more chords, and picked up on the TAB for "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes, and a couple of different tunes by (probably my favorite band of all time) The Cure. I sat and strumed on the guitar while talking to my wife, and watching TV.

When he finally moved out, he took the guitar with him, again ending my relationship with the guitar.

It has now been two years since he left, and I have been missing playing it.

What is a 37 year old man (with very little formal musical training) to do when he wants to express himself musically (and by more than just listening)??

Stay tuned...

I've been a bad boy...

Michele and I took Benjamin to the Minnesota State Fair on Friday.

Yes, I have been very good about my eating, and exercising lately... But Friday - I "fell off the wagon"...

While at the State Fair I enjoyed the following culinary delights...

1. Foot long hot dog (Smothered in fried onions)
2. Hamburger
3. Pronto Pup
4. A few Tom Thumb Mini-Donuts (we shared a bag of them)
5. Half a container of Cheese Curds (fried) - (again we shared them)
6. Two half cups of soda.

and we ended the night off sitting on a bench sharing

7. A bag of Kettle Corn. (shared - with leftovers brought home).

Thankfully I was walking all day, and will be walking this morning, and during my work break tonight... Perhaps if I "fast" for the next 3 days while keeping up with the walking regiment, I may break even...

But dammit if that was not the most delicious afternoon I have had in a long time!!! (grin)

David

What the Hail ??

We had a little bad weather today in Minnesota...
Jordan was no execption to that.
We had some pretty significant rain, powerful wind, and of course...
Some hail.

What being a father is all about....




Being a good father means sacrificing the "extra money" he made on overtime (and had plans for) for an birthday bicycle that his daughter wanted (and needed) for her birthday.






Seeing his daughter's happy face, and getting a monster "thank you" hug from her is worth more to a father than the extra money in the bank, or the item(s) he had planned for the extra money is.


"Proud", "Happy", and "Pleased" are words that do not even begin to explain how he is feeling as he watches her ride up and down the block on her new bike, and is a memory that will stay with him for a very long time!
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This was an unplanned purchase that became necessary when a dad (me) accidentally backed over his daughter's bicycle when he pulled out of the garage about a week ago. He was just going to repair the bicycle, but even if he repaired it, the bicycle was just about "too small" for his daughter, and would need to be replaced in the spring anyway... See Here (a photo from a prior post)

I am still here.

And I am writing.. I just have been busy with other matters... I have two posts that are still "under development" and at least three more brewing in the back of my brain...

Thanks for your concern, and see ya soon.

The Father - of - Five!

"Connections" - both in life and in death.

I do not know what your beliefs are about an afterlife, or supernatural encounters, or ghosts, or spirits, or heaven or God is, but let me tell you three stories that I am unable to explain. These are actual events that occurred in my life - so you will have to take my word for it that they are indeed true.

First of all, I have always been close to my grandparents. The love I have for them in my heart still lingers on well beyond their lives here on earth - for all of them. At an earlier age, I was particularly close to my mother's parents. We had names for them - Mémère and Pépère (or Pep for short). My grandparents got those names because their oldest son (My Uncle Dan) was the first to have children (my cousins). Dan lived in the Northern boarder city of Madawaska, Maine. Madawaska is across the St. John River from Edmondson, Canada (a predominantly French-Canadian city). According to the 2000 US Census bureau, over 83% of the residents of Madawaska speak French in their homes. My Uncle (while not French) married a woman who was from the area, and therefore spoke both French and English. My cousins (who have a few years on the next oldest grandchild) called my grandparents Mémère and Pépère, and it stuck with ALL their Grandchildren. From Dan were Janice, Cindy, and Dean. My Uncle Greg was Gen, Bob, and Mark, and from our family were my sister Denise and myself. All eight of us called them Mémère and Pépère.

I lost my paternal grandfather at an early age. I was five when he passed away. I have some memories of him, but unfortunately not as many, or as detailed as I wish I did (though) get some of my interests and hobbies from him - and I know that is where they came from - but will be a story for another day. Grandpa's death was my first experience of a death within our family, and was to be the last for many years. As I mentioned before, this happened when I was five years old. I do not even remember much of the experience except two things. THE FIRST - My grandfather had a heart attack. He was in the hospital and must not have been doing well. My dad tried to take me to see him, but a "Nurse Ratchet" (i.e. "Bitch") said that I was "too young". (It is funny how thirty years later - the memory of that hag trying to keep me from seeing my grandfather still makes me think of her a as a bitch.) Anyway, my father tried reasoning with this woman, but it did not work. He and I left, and as we walked down the hall, he quietly told me he told me we were going back, and to squat down, walk close to him, and when he reached the nurse's station, to hide behind the desk. He distracted the nurse, and snuck me into Grandpa's room. (This was/is probibly the first and last time in my life that I can think of that my dad was deceitful with someone - and kudos to him for doing it) That was the last time I saw my grandpa. THE SECOND - I remember that after he died my sister and I were allowed to go to his wake. During the wake, we lifted one of grandpa's fingers, and let it fall back down. All I remember is that it was cool, rigid, and the color was "not right". (In other words - I did not fully comprehend death at age 5, but who does?)

I think because I lost my 1st grandfather at such a young age, I became particularly close to my Pep. We spent a lot of time together, and I have NOTHING but fond memories of spending time with him. My Pep was a Policeman for the University of Minnesota Police Department. I believe this is where I got my interest in law enforcement. (I also "blame" my Mémère too - in a different way and for a different reason - Remind me to tell you that story too!) Ok. Back to the original purpose of this post.

I remember the day. It was a beautiful spring day outside. I was in elementary school (sixth grade). I was playing outside at recess, when something overwhelming washed over me. I could not explain it. I had an immediate need to get away. I needed to be alone. I found a quiet grassy field in the far back end of the school yard, and sat. I spent my recess out there just sitting and feeling melancholy, picking at the long blades of grass that surrounded me. A couple of my friends came out to me and asked if I was ok. I remember telling them I was fine, but just wanted to spend some time alone. When the bell rang, I headed back to school, and never gave it a second thought. When I arrived home from school that afternoon, and the only thing out of the ordinary was a neighbor (who had kids our age, and was not unusual to see at our house) was leaving just as we got home, and Dad was home from work early. My parents walked my sister and I into the living room, sat us down, and said "Today was such a beautiful day". I do not know how, or why, but I instantly knew what had happened. I knew Pep had died. I did not know when, or how, or why - but even without the words having been said, I knew. All I remember was an overwhelming crushing feeling in my soul. I got up and ran. I ran as fast as I could. I burst out the front door, ran to the big birch tree in the front yard and tried climbing up to one of the two low branches that I used to climb up to as a kid. I think I was trying to run away from what I knew to be true. My Dad had followed me out a few moments later and while I sat on the branch, he confirmed what I already knew, brought me back into the house where my parents comforted me, and filled me in on the details - but the details were not important. Pep's death was unexpected. He was not even ill. He had some heart damage as a child because of a bout with rheumatic fever that caused a small hole in his heart. On that "beautiful" spring day, he was playing cards at a local senior community center when he went into cardiac arrest. He collapsed and died. Believe me or not, but at the same moments my grandfather was passing away, I was at recess - feeling that immediate need to get away and be alone. A big part of me died that day, and I somehow "knew it" before I actually "knew it". I miss my Pep even now, as an adult.

After Pep's passing, I spent even more time with my Mémère than before. It was not unusual for me to spend a week at a time at her house during the summer (a couple of times a summer). I spent weekends, and long weekends with her too. Mémère and I were very close, and I loved her, and spending time at her house very much. Well, it was only about a year and a half or so after Pep's passing that we got the bad news about Mémère's diagnosis of terminal cancer. I don't think I even knew what cancer was. I just knew that I was told that Mémère was going to get very sick and would be dying soon. (You would not have known she was sick from just looking at her.) So her dying was as "expected" as a loved grandparent's death can be for a young boy. I'll spare you the long drawn out details here, but Mémère lived in her own home as long as she could, and when she could not live alone anymore, my parents took her into our home. She stayed in my sister's room, (I did not realize until just a few years ago that my parents actually sat my sister down, and asked her if she would be willing to let Mémère stay in her room. My sister slept on a hide-a-bed in the basement during this time. (I do not know if my sister knows how much respect I have for her for making that sacrifice for Mémère. I would have too - without a second thought - But they choose Denise's room, and asked her first.)). When Mémère first moved in, she was able to walk, talk, get around, etc. She did spend a lot of time in bed, but it some ways it was like having her around. As time went on, she became less and less able to do these things, and the time did come where Mémère was pretty much sleeping all the time. She would not wake for you if you went into her room, would mumble nonsensical things, and (for all practical purposes) was unconscious. She was in this state for a while, so having her there in that state was the "norm" around the house for a while. After a while, (as embarrassed as I am to admit this) I stopped peeking in the room to say hello, goodbye, etc on a regular basis. But one day, out of the blue, on my way to catch the school bus, (Knowing full well that she would not be able to respond to me) I stopped into her room, gave her a kiss on the cheek, told her goodbye, and that I was leaving for school. When we got home from school that day, Mom and Mémère were not home. Mémère had taken a turn for the worse that day, and Mom had her taken to the hospital. Later that afternoon / evening, she passed away. I do not know why I chose that day to stop in, give her a kiss and say goodbye (at the time thinking goodbye, I'll see ya when I get home from school). But I think somehow, on some level I "knew" that day was my opportunity to say goodbye in a different sort of way.

After having lost Grandpa, then Pep, and finally Mémère - I had one grandparent left. Over the years my Grandma and I had grown close. We too had a special bond. I would help her around her house. Stop by a see her after school. I took her grocery shopping (something my Mémère had always dreamed about - she always told me she could not wait to have me come and pick her up and take her grocery shopping..), and we went out for hamburgers. Both Grandma and I got older and older. She was less and less able to live on her own, and the time came when she had to live in a nursing home. I was fortunate enough to have her close to my work. I was able to take my break, and go visit her. (Until my employer "re-evaluated" our break policy - after which I could not - as we were not allowed to leave the property). Again, by this time Grandma had been close to passing away a couple of times, but each time she rallied back to almost where she had started from (each "close call" deteriorated her health a little more). But the time came where she was going down hill, and we knew it would not be much longer. I was on a set of days off, and had gone to visit Grandma. She was unusually tired by this point and "spending time" with her was pretty much sitting next to her as she slept. On this day though, she did wake for a bit, and we got to visit, even for a brief few minutes, but it was Grandma, and we talked about what we always talked about - how nice it was outside, how much she loved me, and how (when the time came) she was going to watch over me. The next day, my Dad had called and said that if I wanted to see Grandma one more time that it would most likely have to be that day. I stopped up, and both my Uncle Ron and my Dad were there too. We had lunch at the nursing home, and each spent time with Grandma. While sitting next to her, rubbing her hand, for just a few seconds she opened her eyes, and I cannot explain to you what it was like, but with complete clarity, she communicated with me (just by looking into my eyes) that everything was ok. It was a overwhelming feeling in my heart that she knew it was her time, that she was comfortable, how proud she was of me and my family, how much she loved me and (as always) she would be watching out for me. It was the most peaceful feeling I have ever had. She closed her eyes, rolled over and went back to sleep. As far as I know that was the last time she opened her eyes. It was no surprise to me when my Dad called me and told me she passed away. I felt good. Not good that she passed away, but good that she was somewhere better. Free from crippled and worn out body that she was in. I was able to spend the next day with both my Uncle Ron and my Dad as they made the arrangements at the funeral home. The timing could not have worked out better. Everything worked out perfectly. I was on days off (which are next to impossible to get at the last minute where I work), I got to have a last visit with grandma, got to be with her the next day when she "told me" (with here eyes) that everything was going to be ok, and got to be there for both my Dad and my Uncle while planned for Grandma's final arrangements.

As I look back at each of these experiences, there is no doubt in my mind that in some way, on some level, and in some fashion, I had "known" what was going to, or what had already happened to some of the people I have loved the most, and ment the most to me in this world...

SPAM...(strong profanity included)

Ok... I have had to modify my blog a bit... in as much as you (a reader) can leave a comment. Last night at about 3am - my blog was hijacked by a (multiple edits for content). I just spent nearly an hour cleaning up this asshole's mess on my blog.

This idiot has forced me to change the "comments" setting on my blog. You can still leave them - but they are not readly avaiable. They are left in a queue, where they stay until I accept or reject them.

As long as comments are not spam, they will probably get through. Spam like what was left for me last night (referals to other's websites who get paid for each "hit") will not.

So, Dear "Mr. Net" (who accessed my blog - leaving behind the info listed below)...
I would thank you if you would please feel free to go fuck yourself.

Thank you, with much love - The Father-of-Five.

- - - - - - - -

Domain Name - mr.net ? (Network)
IP Address - 137.192.45.# (Onvoy)
ISP - Onvoy

Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Minnesota
City : Minneapolis
Lat/Long : 44.9556, -93.3841 (Map)
Language - English (United States)en-us

Operating System - Microsoft WinXP
Browser - Internet Explorer 6.0Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.1)
Javascript - version 1.3

Monitor
Resolution : 1280 x 1024
Color Depth : 32 bits

Time of Visit - Aug 8 2006 2:23:54 am
Last Page View - Aug 8 2006 2:52:31 am
Visit Length - 28 minutes 37 seconds
Page Views - 10
Referring URL -
Visit Entry Page - http://father-of-five.blogspot.com/
Visit Exit Page - http://father-of-five.blogspot.com/
Out Click - 1 comments http://www.blogger.c...D=115055556834264229

Time Zone - UTC-6:00
Visitor's Time - Aug 8 2006 2:23:54 am

Visit Number - 479

I've got an idea!

Making sure this blog is updated is easy when I have a major project going... But it's not as easy to fill it with interesting information when there is nothing "significant" going on...

Birthday season is quickly approaching our house... (but with 5 kids when isn't it birthday season - Grin).

I am planning on an entry for the "Birthday Child" right around the time of their birthdays.
Heck.. I may even have a picture of them for ya too!

How fun could this be if I do this for several years? I could have a running photo record and "annual" summary of each child over a period of several years!!

Watch for a "Rebecca" entry coming soon! (And a "Jonathan" entry following shortly afterwards).

Thirteen.

Today marks the start of the thirteenth year of being married to my wonderful wife.

She has been an unbelievable wife, mother, and friend. I could not have asked for anyone better.

For that, for putting up with me, and for many-many other things... I love her more than she can possibly know!

How did I get so lucky???

Thanks for being my wife Michele... I love you!

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